CHOOSE TO LOVE AND SERVE GOD
Last week we learned that loving God means we strive to obey him every day. How can we say we love God and refuse to obey his command? There are no two ways about it. Either we love the God of deliverance serve him and obey him alone, or we love and serve idle gods. Our God is a jealous God and He is not pleased when we put other things or gods before him.
The newly formed nation of Israel had a decision to make. Were they going to love and serve the God who delivered them out of Egyptian bondage by his power and might or are they going to love and serve the idle gods their forefathers served in Egypt and on the other side of the Jordan River? Joshua stated his position very clearly. He said, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24: 15).
Today we find the children of Israel have just entered the Canaan (the promise land). Moses and all the 1st generation of Hebrews that lived during the captivity in Egypt and left Egypt during the exodus have died except Joshua and Caleb. After forty years of wondering in the desert due to disobedience, the children of Israel entered the promised land under the leadership of Joshua. Joshua served as an assistant to Moses during his leadership and when Moses died, God called Joshua, who had some background, to lead the people into the Promised Land.
In the lesson today, we find that the land has been divided into twelve tribes. The children of Israel are now a new nation and the time has come for the them to go forward and possess the all the land that God promised their ancestors, going back to Abraham, generations ago.
This event is significant because, God’s promise is unfolding before the Children of Israel. In this moment they can see the promise and provision of God being fulfilled before their eyes. If there was ever any doubt about what their God could do, it was now clear to them that their God is God.
After entering Canaan Joshua called the people together on two different occasion. On this occasion, Joshua called the people, their leadership and governing officials together for a corporate assembly in Shechem. At the meeting, Joshua led the people to make a personal commitment to turn from idle gods and commit to serve the God of deliverance alone. At this meeting, Joshua demonstrated leadership skills and took the first step. He said, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” The people followed and voluntarily made a personal commitment to serve and obey God.
Remembering God’s Promise (Joshua 24: 1-3)
God promised to multiply Abraham’s off springs and give him land. That promise was passed down through the generations to Isaac, Jacob and the tribes of Israel. Now, the sons of Jacob are seeing the promise and provision unfold before their eyes.
Recognizing God’s Provision (Joshua 24: 13-15)
God provided everything the Children of Israel needed to be successful in Canaan. He provided the provision, by filling the land with houses and food that they did not build or plant in any way. God essentially supplied everything they would need even before even before they entered the promised land… including shelter, food, protection, courage, wisdom and knowledge to be successful. All that they needed to be successful were divinely provided by God their job was to love and serve God.
Reaffirming Our Piety (Joshua 24: 21-24)
Under the leadership of Joshua, and in response to the promise and provision of God, the people willingly made the choice to turn away from idol Gods and serve and obey the God of deliverance. This was a public and corporate commitment and Joshua, provided leadership announcing the decision he made for his family and himself to serve the Lord and by allowing them to make their own commitment to turn from idol gods and serve the Lord.
Like the children of Israel, we should make a commitment to serve the Lord and turn away from idle Gods daily. The idol god’s of today and not necessarily molded statues and graven images. Today our idol gods are money, pride, power, position, women men and the like. Anything we give more attention to than we give to God is subject to be an idol God. We should commit daily to serve the Lord and reject allowing idol gods to be in control of our lives.
The Sunday Teacher